Friday, August 29, 2014

Round 10 of the Amazon vs Everybody Wars: Amazon vs Japan

In this week's round of the Amazon vs Everybody Wars, Amazon is taking on Japan.

Amazon is exploiting its position as Japan's largest book retailer by ranking publishers according to how much they pay Amazon. The publishers with the highest ranking are given top billing on the Amazon Japan website.

Publishers are calling it "blackmail." 

Amazon is calling it "business as usual."

The manipulation of Amazon Japan is just one more in a long string of extortionist tactics that include removing pre-orders from books published by "uncooperative" publishing companies (Hachette and Macmillan), and removing new video titles from Disney and Time Warner. So far this year, Amazon has incurred the wrath of the FTC, the Author's Guild, Germany, and France as well as thousands of authors.

But in spite of being dissed by the German Minister of Culture, Amazon continues to expand. It has gobbled up Goodreads, where it immediately began deleting reviews it found unfavorable, and purchased Twitch, the video-game livestreaming site (where it will no doubt employ the same tactics). Meanwhile Amazon has cut royalty rates on audiobooks, leaving many self-publishers in the lurch.

And the year ain't over yet.

________________________

Book publishers shout foul over Amazon Japan's new ratings

Asahi Shimbun, August 28, 2014

By Mayumi Mori/ Staff Writer

Online retail giant Amazon Japan introduced a new system this summer to rank book publishers, a decision that has not gone down well with its business partners.

Amazon Japan is the nation's largest book retailer for paper and electronic media. Its new system gives higher rankings to publishers that pay higher fees to Amazon Japan and to publishers with larger eBook catalogs.

Additionally, eBooks from publishers ranked higher are given more prominence on the Amazon.co.jp website.

Many publishers, including high-profile publishing houses, have protested the move, calling it a form of "blackmail" that exploits the company's considerable dominance in the book retailing industry.

"Wouldn't antitrust authorities start to wonder if Amazon Japan is taking advantage of its monopolistic position in the market?" said Bungeishunju Ltd. when it protested to Amazon Japan in June.

Japanese publishers are continuing to hold talks with Amazon Japan.

Disagreements between parent company, Amazon.com Inc., and publishers are intensifying worldwide.

In the United States, 900 renowned authors protested against Amazon for putting pressure on publishers that resisted the company's demands to lower eBook prices by delaying the shipping of their books.

Media analyst Satoshi Osawa said if publishers start to only focus on dealing with the retailing giant, "it could lead to lower quality of their products."

An official with Amazon Japan's public relations department said, "It's difficult to comment because the issue deals with individual contracts."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Research an Agent

The best way to find an agent is to either marry one, or go to conferences. There is no substitute for face-to-face communication.

Unfortunately, most writers can't make it to conferences. So, they are left with the task of writing query letters. (Even if you do find an agent at a conference, you are not off the hook. You still have to write a query.)

Whether you meet an agent in person, or look one up online, you have to do your research. Does the agent represent your genre? Is he/she they willing to take on new clients? Does she/he have a good track record for sales? Which publishers has the agent worked with? How does he/she treat clients? 

All of these questions are important, and all can be answered by researching agents online. These are the steps to take for researching an agent.

1) Go to AgentQuery. Not all agents on agentquery are members of the AAR, but all are established. You can search on an agent's name, or you can search by genre. If you search by genre, make sure you do a full search and filter for agents who are actively seeking clients. As you find agents who are taking on clients in your genre, make a list. This site has lots of great resources, including a list of twitter handles for agents, how to write a query letter, and lists of publishers and literary magazines, to name a few.

2) Go to the agent's or agency's website. (You can do this directly from agentquery.) Is the agent still taking clients? (Sometimes, agentquery is not up to date.) Does the agent still represent your genre? How does the agent sound? Does he or she appear helpful. and supportive? Does the agent charge a "reading fee"? (If so, cross the agent off your list. No reputable agent will charge a fee for reading a manuscript. No reputable agent will use a submission as an excuse to offer "editing" services either.) Very few agents post their contract on their websites, but when they do, read those contracts carefully. Literary agents, unlike talent agents, do not represent you, they represent your book. (Only one.) Contracts that demand representation rights for all your work, or for prequels or sequels, should be avoided.

3) Google the agent. Look for "querytracker," and "absolute write" entries. Both of these will give you insights as to turnaround time, and whether authors have had positive (or negative) experiences. You can also go straight to querytracker and look the agent up directly, and you can go to absolute write forums. (I find it easier to do a google search.) If there are interviews posted online, read them. Interviews are a great way to discover what the agent does and does not like in a query letter, which genres he or she is particularly interested in, and other useful details.

4) Look the agent up on Preditors and Editors. The Pred and Ed website has an extensive list of agents and publishers. If misconduct has been reported, they flag the agent as "not recommended." They also flag the agent if he or she is recommended, and if there have been recent sales. This is a great website, with a lot of resources, so while you are there, feel free to look around.

5) Google "agent [agent's name]". When authors publish a book, they almost always thank their agent in the "acknowledgements" section. Often you will find something like this: "I want to thank my agent, [name of agent] for her tireless support and encouragement." If the book has been listed on google books, this search will find all such acknowledgements. This is a good way to see how many books the agent has represented, which is particularly useful if the agent does not include a list on his or her website.

Once you have assembled a list of agents that meet all your requirements, it's time to send queries.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Agents Seeking Paranormal Romance Writers

Paranormal romance is reaching market saturation - especially vampires - which means agents are moving on to the Next Best Thing. But that does not mean your touching love story between a time-traveling intergalactic pirate and a kleptomaniac housewife can't find representation.

There are still a number of good solid agents looking to represent paranormal romance. All of these agents are accepting queries as of this writing. Make sure you read the agency website and the agent's bio before submitting.

A word to the wise - do not send queries during the "Dead Month." Wait for the fall.


Name of agency Name of agent(s) Submissions Notes
3 Seas Literary Agency Michelle Grajkowski

Cori Deyoe
http://threeseasagency.com/submissions.html This agency takes a very long time to respond to queries
The Axelrod Agency Steven Axelrod steve@axelrodagency.com The agency's website is minimal. No submission instructions. But the agent has represented a number of well-known authors.
Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency Meredith Bernstein http://www.meredithbernsteinliteraryagency.com/
submission-guidelines/
Agent has a good track record.
Book Cents Literary Agency, LLC Christine Witthohn http://www.bookcentsliteraryagency.com/-submit.html Agent has sold titles to Penguin, Random House, Carina 
Bradford Literary Agency Laura Bradford http://www.bradfordlit.com/submission-guidelines/ Most of this agency's clients are women
Curtis Brown, Ltd. Ginger Clark http://www.curtisbrown.com/submissions.php This agent is listed as the #2 most non-responsive agent on query tracker
Browne & Miller Literary Associates Danielle Egan-Miller

Joanna MacKenzie
http://www.browneandmiller.com/how-to-query-us/ Also represents Christian and YA
Dystel & Goderich Literary Management Jim McCarthy http://www.dystel.com/submission-requirements/ Represents YA
Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency Ethan Ellenberg http://ethanellenberg.com/submission-guidelines/ This agent is listed as the #1 most non-responsive agent on query tracker
FinePrint Literary Management Stephany Evans http://fineprintlit.com/submissions/ Represents a range of women’s fiction, from literary to romance, including mystery, paranormal, historical and romantic suspense
Greenburger Associates, Inc. Courtney Miller-Callihan http://greenburger.com/submissions/ "warm and supportive"
Richard Henshaw Group Susannah Taylor http://richardhenshawgroup.com/submissions/ "smart, strong heroine is essential"
The Knight Agency Deidre Knight

Elaine Spencer

Lucienne Diver

Nephele Tempest

Melissa Jeglinski
http://knightagency.net/manuscript_submissions/ Over 2000 sales in major  publishing houses
Marsal Lyon Literary Agency Kevan Lyon

Jill Marsal

Kathleen Rushall
http://www.marsallyonliteraryagency.com/
submissions/submission-info/
Agency represents many romance writers, all of whom are women
Nelson Literary Agency, LLC Sara Megibow http://nelsonagency.com/submission-guidelines/ "LGBTQ friendly"
Spencerhill Associates Nalini Akolekar http://spencerhillassociates.com/index.php/
Submissions/
May pass your manuscript to one of her assistants
Donald Maass Literary Agency Jennifer Jackson http://maassagency.com/submissions/

(See Jennifer Jackson's page)
This agency is highly respected
Waxman Leavell Literary Agency Holly Root http://www.waxmanleavell.com/
submission.html
There are quite a few interviews with Holly Root online, which you should read before submitting

Friday, August 22, 2014

Round 9 of the Amazon vs Everybody Wars: Amazon vs Authors

In the latest round of the Amazon vs Everybody Wars, 900 American authors posted a letter in the NYT asking people to write to Jeff Bezos about his hardball tactics. More than 1000 German, Austrian and Swiss authors have done the same, accusing Amazon of manipulating its recommended reading lists and lying to customers about the availability of books as retaliation in its dispute with the Bonnier Group. To add clout to the protest, the German Minister of Culture, Monika Gruetters, has openly endorsed the letter.

So where does this dispute leave authors who are just trying to get their novels onto a platform where it might have a chance of getting noticed?

The hard truth is that big publishers have let down authors. As an unpublished author, you have to jump through hoops to get an agent, and, when you do, the agent sometimes spends years attempting to sell your book. When your book finally does sell, the contract leaves you with next to nothing in royalties. The publisher does very little to market your book, so sales are poor. Then, you can't get your second book published because the first one was not successful.

That is why so many of us have turned to Amazon. At least we can publish on a platform that is well-trafficked. And we truly appreciate the opportunity. But, Amazon's battles with the large publishing houses have nothing to do with giving opportunities to writers, or with defending our interests.

Amazon's claim that it is forcing publishers to lower prices to make books more accessible is disingenuous at best. Amazon, unlike publishing houses, does not have to pay editors and proofreaders. It does not have to pay taxes on its stock. Nor does it have to shell out advances to authors, or pay for brick-and-mortar shelf space. And it gets the same deal on wholesale orders from publishing houses as every other retailer, but without the overhead, so its profits are higher. Still, Amazon isn't satisfied.

Amazon won't be content until it holds all the cards in the deck. That is why it is attempting to drive down prices. Book stores are already dropping like flies, unable to compete with Amazon's prices. And once Amazon has finished off the publishers, we're done.
______________________________________________

Amazon vs Hachette: It’s Getting Nasty

By Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly, Aug 15, 2014

The two-page ad that ran in the Aug. 10 issue of the New York Times, which more than 900 authors signed calling for readers to email Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to air their displeasure at the company’s tactics in its terms dispute with Hachette Book Group, unleashed some of the harshest language yet in the months-long standoff.

Any pretense that this was a typical publisher-bookseller negotiation, as the parties said when news of the dispute first broke, has given way to statements by the Amazon Books Team in a blog post on Aug. 8 on the readersunited.com site that pointed to HBG’s role in colluding with other publishers to raise e-book prices. (The publishers’ switch to the agency model had the effect of setting prices for Amazon and all other retailers on many new titles at $14.99, well above Amazon’s preferred price of $9.99.) The Amazon post urged readers to email HBG CEO Michael Pietsch and ask him why the publisher was against lower e-book prices. Pietsch responded to the email campaign by noting that HBG sets its own prices, and saved his sharpest criticism for Amazon’s stance in the negotiations, writing that Amazon initiated the fight because it “is seeking a lot more profit and even more market share, at the expense of authors, bricks and mortar bookstores, and ourselves.”

“Once again,” Pietsch continued, “we call on Amazon to withdraw the sanctions against Hachette’s authors that they have unilaterally imposed, and restore their books to normal levels of availability. We are negotiating in good faith. These punitive actions are not necessary, nor what we would expect from a trusted business partner.”

For its part, the Amazon Books Team said it “will never give up its fight for reasonable e-book prices,” and said that it is HBG that has prevented a deal from getting done. According to Amazon, “Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store.” The company added that it is HBG that has rebuffed three attempts by Amazon to remove authors from getting caught in the crossfire.

The public fight over terms has caused a deep division between authors: those who believe the Amazon argument that lower e-book prices result in higher unit sales and thus more money for everyone, and others who support the HBG position that its ultimate goal in its discussions with Amazon is to preserve a bookselling environment that includes not just Amazon but a range of outlets including bricks-and-mortar bookstores.

Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the book research firm Codex Group, said that, given current market trends, the importance of the dispute between Amazon and HBG “goes well beyond a simple negotiation over selling terms.”

Based on Codex survey data, Amazon has more than tripled its book unit share, from 13% in 2008 to 40% in 2014, which has contributed to an estimated 30% loss of physical bookstore selling space over the same period. With that loss of bookselling space has come a 4% decline in U.S. households reading fiction from 2008 to 2012, according to research by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In Hildick-Smith’s view, just as Hollywood movie studios would be reduced to mere video producers without movie theaters to launch their latest blockbusters, trade publishers without physical bookstores to accelerate new book discovery would be robbed of their unique ability to make break-out bestsellers and author brands, and ultimately be reduced to the role of Amazon associates, reliant on daily deals to promote new titles.

Whether openly acknowledged or not, the book market is “now in a battle for both the survival of physical-world book selling and the trade publishing business model that depends on it,” Hildick-Smith said. “The choice is either to emulate the film industry, with its theaters and strong multiple channels of distribution, or else by default, go the way of the music industry, which has endured a massive revenue decline since it became dominated by digital distribution.”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Agents Looking for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers

Science fiction and fantasy never go out of style, so if you write in either of these genres, you are in luck.

Here is a list of reputable agents who represent fantasy and/or science fiction novels. All of them are accepting queries as of this writing.

Please note: When there are several agents in one agency accepting SF/F, only query ONE of them. Read the agents' bios to determine which agent will be the best fit for your work, and tailor your query to that agent's interests. Make sure to use the agent's name in your salutation. (Not "Dear Agent.") As always, read the submissions policy carefully. Do not give anyone an excuse to reject your submission simply because you have not followed their instructions.

Writers, be forewarned. Do NOT submit queries to agents during the "Dead Month."

Name of Agency  Name of Agent(s)  Submissions  Genre/subgenre
Andrea Brown Laura Rennert

Jennifer Mattson

Lara Perkins
http://www.andreabrownlit.com/
how-to-submit.html
YA and Children's books only 
Barry Goldblatt http://www.bgliterary.com/submission-guidelines/ YA and Children's books only 
The Bent 
Agency
Jenny Bent

Gemma
Cooper

Molly Ker Hawn

Susan Hawk

Brooks Sherman
http://www.thebentagency.com/
submission.php
Science Fiction, Fantasy,
YA and
Children's 
Bradford Literary Agency Laura Bradford

Natalie Lakosil

Sarah LaPolla
http://www.bradfordlit.com/submission-guidelines/ Urban fantasy, Science Fiction,
Children's
The Cooke Agency

Canada
Sally Harding

Ron Eckel

Rachel Letofsky

Marci Geisler
http://www.cookeagency.ca/
submissions.htm
YA and New Adult
Curtis Brown, Ltd. Ginger Clark

Jonathan Lyons
http://www.curtisbrown.com/
submissions.php

(Ginger accepts email queries at:
gc@cbltd.com)
Science Fiction,
Fantasy
D4EO Literary Agency Mandy Hubbard

Kristin Vincent

Pam van Hylckama Vlieg
http://www.d4eoliteraryagency.com/p
/faq.html

See individual agents for contact information
Science Fiction,
YA, Epic Fantasy, Adult Fantasy
Donald Maass Literary Agency Jennifer Jackson

Cameron McClure

Amy Boggs

Jennifer Udden
http://maassagency.com/submissions/

(See individual agents)
Science Fiction,
Urban Fantasy, High Fantasy, YA, Diversity
Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency Evan Gregory

Denise Little
http://ethanellenberg.com/submission-guidelines/ Science Fiction, Fantasy
FinePrint Literary Management Peter Rubie

http://fineprintlit.com/submissions/

(Also see individual agents)
Science Fiction,
Fantasy
The Greenhouse Literary Agency John Cusick http://www.greenhouseliterary.com/index.php
/site/how_to_submit
YA and Children's books only
Harvey Klinger, Inc.
Andrea Somberg
http://www.harveyklinger.com/
submissions.php
Science Fiction, Fantasy
Irene Goodman Literary Agency Miriam Kriss http://www.irenegoodman.com/
submission.php
Urban Fantasy
JABberwocky Literary Agency Eddie Schneider

Lisa Rodgers
http://awfulagent.com/submissions-2 Science Fiction, Fantasy
Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency Linda Epstein

Roseanne Wells
See individual agents Science Fiction,
Fantasy, Steampunk
The Knight Agency

Note: Very professional website, with helpful information
Lucienne Diver

Nephele Tempest


http://knightagency.net/
manuscript_submissions/
Science Fiction, Fantasy
KT Literary Kate Testerman http://ktliterary.com/submissions/ YA and Middle Grade
Liza Dawson Associates Caitlin Blasdell

Hannah Bowman

Havis Dawson
http://www.lizadawsonassociates.com/
submissions.html

Click on individual agent's photo
Science Fiction, Fantasy
Lowenstein Associates Emily Gref http://www.lowensteinassociates.com/
submission.html
Science Fiction, Fantasy
Nancy Yost Literary Agency  Adrienne Rosado http://www.nyliterary.com/www.nyliterary.com
/__Submission_Guidelines.html
Urban fantasy
Nelson Literary Agency Kristin Nelson

Sara Megibow
http://nelsonagency.com/
submission-guidelines/
Science Fiction, Fantasy
Prospect Agency Becca Stumpf

Emily Sylvan Kim
http://www.prospectagency.com/
boathouse.html
Science Fiction, Fantasy
Greenburger Associates Matt Bialer

Lindsay Ribar
http://greenburger.com/submissions/ Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Scovil Galen Ghosh Russell Galen

Anna Ghosh
http://www.sgglit.com/submissions.htm Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Spencerhill Associates Nalini Akolekar http://spencerhillassociates.com/index.php/
Submissions/
Urban fantasy
Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency Jack Byrne http://www.sff.net/people/jackbyrne/
submissions.htm
Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Stimola Literary Studio Rosemary Stimola http://stimolaliterarystudio.com/submission-guidelines/ YA
Stringer Literary Agency Marlene Stringer http://www.stringerlit.com/submissions/

Online form
Urban and Contemporary
fantasy
Waxman Leavell Literary Agency Holly Root

Scott Waxman
http://www.waxmanleavell.com/
submission.html
Science Fiction,
Fantasy,
Urban fantasy
Trident Media Group John Silbersack

Scott Miller
http://www.tridentmediagroup.com/contact-us Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Wolf Literary Services Adriann Ranta

Kirsten Wolf
http://wolflit.com/submissions/ Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Writers House Jodi Reamer

Merrilee Heifetz

Robin Rue
http://www.writershouse.com/
content/submissions.asp
Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Zeno Agency Ltd

UK

Note: Temporarily receiving queries
? http://zenoagency.com/submission-guidelines/ Epic Fantasy and Crossover Science Fiction
Folio Literary Management Michael Harriot

Scott Hoffman

Michelle Brower

Melissa Sarver
http://www.foliolit.com/submissions/how-to-submit-to-us/ Fantasy

Literary fantasy

Science Fiction
Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc Jennifer Weltz http://www.jvnla.com/submissions.html Fantasy
McIntosh & Otis, Inc. Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein http://mcintoshandotis.com/submissions/ YA and Middle Grade Fantasy
Foundry Literary and Media Hannah Brown Gordon

Brandi Bowles

Yfat Reiss Gendell
http://www.foundrymedia.com/submissions Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Corvisiero Literary Agency Marisa Corvisiero

Doreen MacDonald

Cate Hart

Samantha Bremekamp
http://www.corvisieroagency.com/
Submissions.html
Science Fiction,
Fantasy,
Steampunk, YA and MG
New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc Suzie Townsend http://newleafliterary.com/submissions.cfm Science Fiction,
Fantasy
The Gernert Company Seth Fishman http://www.thegernertco.com/submission-guidelines/

*Don't send queries to individual agents
Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Victoria Sanders & Associates LLC Bernadette Baker-Baughman http://www.victoriasanders.com/submission-guidelines Fantasy
Spectrum Literary Agency Eleanor Wood

Justin Bell
http://www.spectrumliteraryagency.com/
instructions.htm

*Snail mail only
Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Jill Grinberg Literary Management

Note: Very minimal website
Jill Grinberg http://www.jillgrinbergliterary.com/ Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency Inc. Meredith Bernstein  http://www.meredithbernsteinliteraryagency.com/
submission-guidelines/
Science Fiction,
Fantasy
John Hawkins & Associates, Inc. Moses Cardona http://www.jhalit.com/#Submissions Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Kimberley Cameron & Associates Kimberley Cameron http://www.kimberleycameron.com/submission-guidelines.php Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Richard Henshaw Group LLC Susannah Taylor http://richardhenshawgroup.com/submissions/ Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Linn Prentis Literary Linn Prentis http://www.linnprentis.com/submissions.html Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Frances Collin Literary Agency Frances Collin http://www.francescollin.com/queries.htm Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Janklow & Nesbit Associates Luke Janklow
(no fantasy)
http://www.janklowandnesbit.com/submissions Science Fiction
(no fantasy)
L. Perkins Agency Leon Husock

Rachel Brooks
(Urban)

Sandy Lu
(Urban)
http://www.lperkinsagency.com/
submission_guidelines
Science Fiction,
Fantasy,
Urban fantasy
Talcott Notch Literary Gina Panettieri

Paula Munier

Jessica Negron
http://www.talcottnotch.net/queries Science Fiction,
Fantasy,
Urban fantasy
McGinniss Associates Literary Agency James McGinniss http://mcginnissassociates.com/submissions.php Science Fiction,
Fantasy
Darhansoff and Verrill Catherine Luttinger

(Actively seeking)
http://dvagency.com/submission-guidelines/

Put: "Query for Catherine: [TITLE]” in your subject line
Science Fiction
(all subgenres)

Monday, August 18, 2014

When Not to Contact an Agent: What Writers Should Do During the Dead Month

August is affectionately known as the "dead month" in the publishing industry. During August all work comes to a virtual halt as editors, agents, proofreaders, typesetters, CEOs, dog walkers and everyone else on the planet takes a much-needed vacation.

So, all you aspiring authors, don't submit your manuscript to publishers, and don't send your queries to agents in the month of August. (To be fair, mid-November to mid-January is also a bad time, but for different reasons.)

If your manuscript is ready to go, you have several choices of what to do during the dead month. You can head to the beach, you can write your next novel ...

... or

You can do research!

August is the ideal time to gather publishing ammunition. This is how to do it:

1) Make a list of agents. To assemble your list of ideal agents, go to agentquery.com and do a search on your genre (i.e. the genre of the book you want to sell). Make a list of all agents who are accepting queries in that genre. Then, once your list is assembled, go to each and every agency's website to make sure the information you have garnered from agentquery is current. While you are there, read the website, and study the bios of the agents. Do you think the agent will be a good fit for you? If not, take the agent off your list. Next type the agent's name into a google search. Look for entries from "absolutewrite watercooler" and from "querytracker." Read what other writers say about these agents. If writers report bad treatment, then cross the agent off your list. (None of the agents on agentquery will charge a fee, but some who don't may recommend editing services for which they receive a kickback. Don't query an agent who also offers editing services.) Also check preditors&editors for complaints. It will take you at least a month to assemble your list, so have fun.

Sci-fi and fantasy writers, go here for a list of agents: Agents Looking for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers

Paranormal romance writers, go here for a list of agents: Agents Seeking Paranormal Romance Writers

2) Make a list of reviewers. The time to contact reviewers is three to four months in advance of publication. So, if you have finished your manuscript and plan to self-publish as soon as the last word is written, STOP. Don't publish until you have reviewers lined up, and all your publicity in place. (Interviews, ads, etc.) Go to List of Online Reviewers Who Accept Self-Published Books for a list of 170 book bloggers who review self-published books. Also go to Top 12 Sites for Finding Reviewers for links to several hundred more reviewers and review sites. Cull through these for reviewers who write reviews for your genre. Make a very long list. (You will need several hundred. Returns on review requests are modest.) Be sure to include their email address, or other contact information on your list.

3) If you have written short stories or poems, make a list of literary journals. Trust me, even those few journal editors who say they accept submissions all year round don't read in August. The best way to submit to literary journals is to have a list of 20 or 30 at the ready. If you are going for fame, then start your list with the journals that don't accept simultaneous submissions. If you simply want to get some writing credits under your belt, then make a list of those that do accept simultaneous submissions - and submit to all of them at once. In September. Go here to find short story markets: Top 5 Online Resources for Short Story Markets. Go here for poetry: Top 5 Resources for Publishing Poetry

4) Write templates of query letters and review requests. All letters, whether they are to an agent or a reviewer, need to be individualized. Always include the name of the agent or reviewer in your salutation, say how or where you found them, and tailor your initial pitch to that person's stated interests. That being said, there are some things that will not change from one submission to the next. Your blurb (for reviewers) or pitch (for agents) will be the same, as will your word count, genre, bio and other pertinent information. It is a lot easier to write a template query or review request and tweak it than to compose a new email for each submission. Once you are happy with your template, copy it and paste it into an email. Don't send. Just save it as a draft. Having a draft online will save a lot of time later.

Note: Writer's Digest has a great series on successful queries, which is one of the best resources you will find on how to write a winning query letter.

5) Make a submission packet. If you are submitting directly to publishers, you will need a submission packet. A submission packet typically includes a synopsis of your book, a bio, and a pitch (one paragraph), as well as sample chapters, and log lines, depending on the publisher. It also may include a proposal and a marketing plan if you are publishing a nonfiction book. If you don't know how to write a pitch, or a proposal, or a log line, or a query - now is the time to do some studying. Believe me - and I say this from bitter experience - you don't want to find out what these things are after you have begun contacting agents, publishers, or editors. There is a lot of information online about how to write all of the components of a submission packet. In fact, some agents and publishers are even kind enough to spell out what is involved on their websites.

6) Last, but not least - don't read your manuscript. I am aware that everybody under the sun will tell you to read your manuscript once again to check for typos, logic errors, and awkward syntax that you swear you did not write. (The syntax gremlins did it.) But, if you read your manuscript too many times in succession you will develop manuscript blindness. 

Have you ever noticed that when you look at a word too many times, the spelling no longer makes sense? That is exactly what happens when you read your manuscript too often, especially if you read it from beginning to end. After several readings you can't see your mistakes. If you really must read your book -  yet again - make spot checks. Simply scroll down to a random spot on your manuscript and read whatever paragraph your cursor lands on. I will guarantee you that nine times out of ten you will find something that needs fixing.

So, while your future agent/publisher/editor/reviewers are on a beach enjoying themselves during the month of August, you will be hard at work, proving to them that you are worth their time and attention.

Friday, August 15, 2014

2 Agents From Established Literary Agencies Looking for Clients

Here are two agents looking for clients. Both of them work for large, well-respected literary agencies that have represented numerous best-selling authors. For information on how long it takes for these agents to respond to queries, as well as other important details, check Query Tracker. (You have to sign up, but it's free.)

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Stacy Testa of Writer's House


About Stacy: Stacy joined Writers House in 2011 as an assistant to senior agent Susan Ginsburg and has been actively building her own client list since 2013. Previously, she interned at Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Whimsy Literary. Stacy graduated cum laude with a BA in English from Princeton University. Follow her on Twitter:@stacy_testa.

What she is seeking: Stacy is looking for literary fiction and upmarket commercial women’s fiction, particularly character-driven stories with an international setting, historical bent, or focus on a unique subculture. She also represents realistic young adult (no dystopian or paranormal, please!). For nonfiction, she is particularly interested in young “millennial” voices with a great sense of humor and a strong platform, startling and unique memoirs, and voice-driven narratives about little-known historical moments.

How to submit: Please submit your query, including the first five pages of your manuscript pasted into the body of the email (no attachments), to stesta [at] writershouse.com. Please do not query multiple Writers House agents simultaneously.
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Catherine Luttinger of Darhansoff & Verrill

What she is seeking: Catherine is primarily interested in science fiction and fantasy. To her, that includes anything that could even remotely be labeled as such. Viable submission material includes everything from classic space operas to the apocalypse; alternative universes, dystopias, and eco-thrillers—as well as the paranormal, horror, zombies, plagues, and time travel. She is also willing to look at historical fiction, mythology re-told, YA, thrillers and mysteries. You may also pitch her pop-science nonfiction.

How to submit: Send queries to submissions@dvagency.com. Put “Query for Catherine: [TITLE]” in your subject line.

Please note that Catherine is not yet listed on the agency's website.